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Robot animals can now jump over obstacles

You will no longer be able to hide from cheetah robots behind a 40 cm tall wall, as the damn things can now jump over such obstacles.

Researchers at the MIT university's Biometrics Robotics Lab have upgraded Cheetah (the four-legged robot animal) with new algorithms that allow it to detect and jump over obstacles up to 40 centimetres tall — the first four-legged robot to do so autonomously.

To get a running jump, the robot plans out its path, much like a human runner, it says in the MIT press release (opens in new tab).

As it detects an approaching obstacle, it estimates that object’s height and distance. The robot gauges the best position from which to jump, and adjusts its stride to land just short of the obstacle, before exerting enough force to push up and over. Based on the obstacle’s height, the robot then applies a certain amount of force to land safely, before resuming its initial pace.

"A running jump is a truly dynamic behavior," said Sangbae Kim, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, in the press release. "You have to manage balance and energy, and be able to handle impact after landing. Our robot is specifically designed for those highly dynamic behaviours."

As you will see in the video posted below, the Cheetah was tested for obstacles from 24 to 40 cm in heights, and it jumped over them with ease.

The robot was also tested untethered, and passed the tests with flying colours, all while maintaining average running speed of five miles per hour.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.